Pregnancy is hard work. It is a full-time job—possibly alongside any other full-time job you may already have. It’s important to revisit the concept of fatigue throughout pregnancy. It may be your central focus during the first trimester, but it can be a growing frustration throughout the months. Some women do still walk marathons during pregnancy but most are just trying to get through their day awake.
Slowing down brings up a lot for most people. Most of us define ourselves in some manner by what we do or how we do things. This is a wonderful time to connect with the inherent value inside yourself that is not just attached to what you do. So, if fatigue is slowing you down, remember it is a pause, not a permanent stop.
How to build energy in pregnancy
There’s no substitute for rest, but in Chinese medicine, the Spleen system is responsible for your stamina. It can be thought of like the mitochondria in the cells that produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), or energy. Since food and nutrients are our fuel, we can also equate the Spleen with the digestive system. So, good nutrition is a great way to boost your energy.
Nourish yourself with easy-to-digest foods so that less of your resources are going to breaking down complex things and more are going to supporting the distribution of the nutrients to all of the places they need to go.
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a different story. It predominately affects women—perhaps from carrying and raising children for millennia! A lot of women with CFS are intimidated about going through the process of pregnancy, which of course adds more components of fatigue and other physical stressors, and rightly so. Although women with CFS do get through their pregnancies, it’s often not without difficulty.
If you are thinking of becoming pregnant, and you have CFS, this is a good time to evaluate your support network, because you might find that you need to rely on it more than usual. It’s also important to note that postpartum depression is about three times higher in women with CFS. Preparing a solid support team is essential. Lining up some help beyond just your partner for when baby comes may give you some peace of mind and alleviate the extra exhaustion that comes with anticipating fatigue.
Of course, CFS doesn’t have to just remain a resolute condition either. Utilizing some approaches such as acupuncture and staying on top of nutrition can help build stamina and health. Having a child is exhausting no matter how you cut it, or how you go into it, but paying attention to rest and different layers of support can help bolster as much energy as is available to you.
It’s normal to be tired
You are lugging around a lot of extra weight during pregnancy and actively contributing to your baby’s growth and development. There’s no way around this ebb and flow of fatigue, and giving yourself permission to rest as much as possible is great preparation for the upcoming work of labor, delivery, and breastfeeding.